Coldness is a State of Mind

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Over the last month or so the temperatures in Scotland have barely gone above freezing, with the it regularly reaching -10 °C.   Something I hardly ever wear is a jacket when I am going out anywhere, even in these cold temperatures, it's always a shirt or t-shirt I am wearing.   I constantly hear people saying to me 'You not wearing a jacket, it's freezing', and I always laugh and say something like 'I don't feel the cold' or 'coldness is a state of mind', people must think I am a little strange. When my sons are in the car in the morning and say 'it's freezing', again I always say 'coldness is a state of mind', although I do get a reply of 'well my mind is freezing just now'.

The truth is I truly believe that coldness really is a state of mind and that I am able to control my body temperature.


How I started control my body temperature

I remember when I was around 20 years old, I was out on the town with a group of friends.   We were in the pub and everybody was having a good time.   When the pub was closing we decided we were still in the party mood, only thing was we had to walk about 1/2 mile to get a taxi.   We all had shorts and t-shirts on as we had only intended to stay at the pub for a few hours and to book a taxi back home.   So we were all freezing cold and shivering, except for one girl called Joanne.   She was quite a skinny girl, but didn't seem to display the effects of the cold like the rest of us.   The temperature was -9 °C, I remember as there was a clock and a temperature digital display in the town centre building.   When I asked her 'are you not freezing cold', she casually replied 'Nah, it's only as cold as you want it to be'.   I laughed, but she wasn't joking.   She advised that what she does is remembers a time when she was on holiday in a hot country and thinks back to the feelings of being warm and seeing the sun shine down on her body.   I thought about this for some time after and practised this technique whenever I was out in the cold.

I have now managed to control my body temperature for years and without thinking about the hot climate.

Why the body gets cold

Keeping our bodies within certain limits, usually 36.1 and 37.5   °C , depending on which country you come from, is very important.   Our bodies continually monitor the outside temperature and compare it with internal temperature.   If the outside temperature is too warm the body responds by helping the body lose heat, usually through sweating and other means.   If the outside temperature is too cold, the body again responds by taking evasive actions such as :

  1. Sweat stops being produced.
  2. Tiny muscles under the skin contract and lift the hair follicles upright as a form of insulation, you will know this as goosebumps.
  3. The blood vessels start to constrict and only allow more blood flow to regulate the core temperature of our body
  4. We start to shiver as a way to increase heat production.
  5. Fat is converted into heat energy, particularly brown fat. (Walking for half an hour per day in the cold or taking a cold shower is a good way to lose weight, as you burn more brown fat)

I don't want to go too much into the biology of the homeosatic process, sufficed to say that all this is done at an unconscious level, by the autonomic nervous system, in other words we don't need to consciously control body temperature.

However, what I have found is that we can control body temperature to a large degree.   Whenever it's cold outside I can consciously stop the goosebumps by acting as if it's a warm day, not just thinking about a warm day but by acting as if it's warm.   I do this by totally relaxing my body when I am walking or sitting down in the cold.   When we are cold our body tenses with all the muscle action that is going on, which sends more signals to the brain that you are cold, when you consciously relax you skip a part of thermoregulation and send signals to the brain that it's not that cold outside, therefore increasing the level of blood flow around the body.

Obviously this is not advisable for prolonged periods, so don't go out walking naked in the snow for a few hours at a time 🙂

Why the hell am I telling you all of this?

Simply to show you what the mind is capable of.   I know I can control my body temperature to a degree, I can slow down, and speed up my heart rate quite easily, increase and decrease my blood pressure, and many other areas that are controlled by the autonomic nervous system.   I can do this, and you can to simply by using your thoughts.

Little experiment to show you

Put your index finger and middle finger together and place them on your adams apple area, now slide your fingers about 2 inches diagonally to find your Carotid artery and you will feel it pulsing.

If you have a watch or stop clock count the number of beats for 15 seconds.   When you have done that, multiply the figure by 4 and you will have your heart rate .   As I carried this out just now I recorded a heart of 76 beats per minute (bpm).

Now, keeping your fingers where they are,  I want you to imagine you are relaxed and resting on a sun lounge in the most beautiful of places.   The warm sun is gently flowing over your body, the cool breeze passes over you, the sound of the sea swirls around your mind, and you are very relaxed.   Really get into the scene for a minute or two.   Now record your pulse again for 15 seconds and multiplying it by 4 to get you bpm again  and see what you get.

To speed it up I want you to imagine one of the most sexy people on the planet.   You are alone in the lift with them and suddenly they turn around and want to kiss you, you let them, you end up having passionate sex, really use your imagination and get into the scene and do this for a minute or two.   Now open your eyes briefly to record your bpm.

If you got into this you will have been able to lower your bpm, and then raise it simply with the power of your thoughts, also it's a fun exercise to do 🙂

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.